You’re attending youth service tonight just like you do every week. You always look forward to it, because nothing excites you more than worshipping, listening to the Word and spending time with your friends!

You enter the hall and walk straight to the front row. Your church friends already reserved you a seat. You greet them, and exchange stories from the week. The countdown starts, and you get up on your feet. You immerse yourself in worship as you are overwhelmed by God’s undeniable presence. You listen to the preaching, get refreshed, and encouraged. After the service, you invite your closest friends for dinner at a nearby restaurant.

What’s wrong with the story? It sounded like a spiritually refreshing night. That is, until you saw what was really going on. Because as you entered the hall and made a beeline for your friends, you just passed by Randy, who walked in the youth service for the first time.

His parents got into a big fight, and he just failed an exam that could merit him getting kicked out of school. He is lost, broken, and desperate. Randy, on his way home from school, saw a poster of the youth service. Out of curiosity and desperation, he decides to attend.

He sits at the last row, where not many people stay. He watches people chatting from a distance, excitedly conversing with one another. No one took notice of him. No one approached him. He stays on until the end of the service, yet remains unacknowledged. He watches as the hall starts to empty, before joining the crowd making their way towards the exit, feeling worse than when he entered.

How many Randy’s have we passed by? How many have we failed to approach and engage, because we were too occupied by our own ministry routines?

If you’re a regular youth service attendee, you most likely have a specific area where you sit with your friends, Victory group, or campus friends. And while there’s nothing wrong with that, every week a “Randy” shows up. This begs the question: how many people have gone in and out of our youth services unengaged by the Church?

The parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10 is no different. Jesus narrates how a man was robbed, beaten, and left to die by the road. A priest passes by, sees the man, and completely ignores him. A Levite goes down the same road, sees the man, and also ignores him.

Priests and Levites are Israelites. They experienced firsthand–more than any other nation– the favor, miracles, and blessings from God. They were the first to be commissioned to extend the same grace and mercy they received from God to others. Yet, in this parable, these two did the opposite. Scripture tells us that not only did they ignore the beaten man, but they “passed the other way”. In other words, they intentionally avoided the man.

One might reason out, “but what if the priest and the Levite were going through a tough season in their life?” or “what if they were afraid to help the man because they suspected that it was a trap?”

But before we lose ourselves in this direction, let’s read what happens next…

But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. Luke 10:33

The word “saw” in this verse comes from the Greek word horao, which means “to experience” or “to be acquainted with”. This gives the word “saw” a completely new definition; it is not anymore just limited by perceived sight, but extends to the feeling of compassion for another. The Samaritan sees the beaten man and helps him, to the extent of bringing him to the nearest inn and making sure he is taken care of.

Samaritans, during that time, were avoided, ignored, and looked down on. So surely this Samaritan must be going through far more difficult trials in his personal life, and helping the man would actually cause more trouble than good. But out of compassion, he took the risk. He didn’t let his fear overcome him.

By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
John 13:35

Mahatma Ghandi once challenged Christians by saying, “Jesus is ideal and wonderful but you Christians, you are nothing like Him.” While this may come across as too strong to some of us, Ghandi does have a point. How much and how often do Christians render love and compassion for others?

I hope that a Christian’s answer to this would not go down the road of excuses, like the priest and Levite’s did. Instead, I hope that Jesus’ finished work on the cross would compel Christians everywhere to extend the grace given them, to the people they encounter daily. Lastly, as we, Christians, are commissioned to go and make disciples of all nations, I hope that we could start with the new people we’re sitting next to in church.